• 28Feb

    Today’s post contributed by GMM Registered Dietitian and Community Wellness Representative, Rachel Stroud

    You know that age-old black and white food label that seems to just blend right into the side of every box in the grocery store? Ever struggled to know what on earth you were supposed to be looking at on it?

    Well there may be some changes on the horizon.

    Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama and the FDA unveiled their proposed edits for those nutrition labels that have looked the same on every packaged food we’ve purchased since the 1990’s.

    The new design will require companies to structure their nutrition facts off of serving sizes based on amounts that are more realistic for what the average buyer consumes.

    For example, most of us know by now that the “serving size” on the back of a pint of ice cream is listed as 1/2 cup per serving.

    Who actually only eats 1/2 cup of ice cream?! Not me!

    Photo via cnn.com

    Photo via cnn.com.

    With the new labeling system, ice cream, for example, will now be based on a 1-cup serving size. Not because this is the amount we should all be eating, but because it more accurately reflects the amount we are already eating, giving a more truthfully picture of the nutrition facts we’re consuming with a “normal-sized” portion.

    Also under the new system, the Daily Value for Sodium will be based on 2300mg/day rather than 2400mg/day. There will also be a new line included for Added Sugars, under the Carbohydrates category. And say goodbye to “Calories From Fat,” since we will now be paying closer attention to the types of fat, rather than simply the amount.

    For 90 days, the public has a chance to comment on these proposed changes.

    So – what do you think about the food labels makeover?

    Would this make label-reading easier or more accessible to you? Or would you like to go back to thinking there are only 270 calories in that heaping “1/2 cup” of ice cream?

    Let’s discuss. Leave your comments on the post on our Facebook Page!

  • 25Feb

    Today’s post is contributed by Harmony Blackwell, Good Measure Meals Customer Service Representative

    HarmonyGAAquarium2Recently my family went to the Georgia Aquarium and had an exceptional experience! And besides the fascinating animals, I learned a thing or two about the “fun” side of eating out on special occasions.

    One of things I always anticipate when I go to an entertainment venue is that the food will be costly and not necessarily healthy.  Sure, it’s fun to eat out, but sometimes those sort of “special occasion meals” end up de-railing my diet, or at least getting me off-track from the healthy habits I’ve set up for myself.

    But this time, I made up my mind before we arrived that no matter what, I would choose the healthier options when we decided to eat.

    I was pleasantly surprised when we entered the Café Aquaria, which boasts about their “Best in Class” concepts featuring local and national favorites.

    The Café appeals to a broad range of tastes, featuring dining options to suit the entire family including: The Grill, Pizza and Pasta, Buckhead Bread and Desserts.

    When my family walked in, we all split off and went in different directions.  I went to the grill and decided on the Roasted Chicken Sandwich, served with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, feta and an excellent seasoned mayo.  My next stop was the drink cooler.  My goal was to find a drink without high-fructose corn syrup (HFC).

    On the way, I noticed the circular dessert table which had a host of delicious cupcakes, brownies, pies, etc.  As hard as it was, I kept my focus and kept walking.  I also noticed a Fresh Fruit Station as well as a Candy, Nuts and Granola Station. It was nice that there were so many options there that you could choose to eat healthy if you tried – although it’s not always easy to make that decision when tempting desserts are in your path.

    Ultimately, I found a drink and sat down to eat my meal. Now, here’s a little insight about me: I have a habit of tasting my meats by themselves before eating them on my sandwiches.  (My thinking is:  if it’s good by itself, the sandwich is going to be awesome!) Turns out that the chicken was tender and the flavor was amazing.  The rosemary/herb combination of seasonings complemented the whole sandwich.  I enjoyed every bite, even though it wasn’t pizza, or a brownie or cupcake!

    As we ate, I noticed that my sister also chose a healthy lunch consisting of a Pulled Pork Sandwich, Blue Berry Naked Juice, an Orange, and Granola.  (She even ate the contents of her sandwich without the bread.)

    I asked her what made her decide to eat healthier, and she responded, “I usually use family outings as an excuse to eat poorly.  I decided today that I’m stronger than that and I have the choice to eat healthy and feel good about myself.”

    Two years ago when I ate at this same restaurant, I did not have as good of an eating experience. Honestly, I think the reason for this is because making the choice to eat healthier made me focus on the amazing options available as opposed to just choosing the normal “fun choices,” like pizza, hamburgers and fries.

    It also made me wonder…what makes an eating choice “fun” after all? Items that are more like “junk food” are marketed to us as the fun options, but the flavors and quality of healthy foods (not to mention the energized way we feel after eating them) are really the best/most fun part about good eating.

    My trip to the Georgia Aquarium also made me realize that every small decision counts when I’m trying to Commit to Lean. Making a conscious effort to look for healthier options in all situations really does set the stage for a lifetime of better eating.

    The more times we say “yes” to the healthy options, the more engrained the habit will become.

    Have you made any  healthier choices lately?  Share your success with us at https://www.facebook.com/GoodMeasureMeals

    HarmonyGAAquarium

  • 18Feb

    Hearts, roses, chocolates, candles, red wine, love, pink hearts, red hearts, conversation hearts – blah blah blah, Valentine’s Day is over (amen?).

    Amen. Hallelujah.

    Well actually, February is American Heart Month, so we need to leave our hearts on the table a little longer….or at least our conversations about them.

    Here’s a big fact for you: Did you know that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the Number 1 killer of men and women in the U.S.? This includes heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

    Happy Tuesday, folks.

    Some people are inherently more at risk than others because of their genetics; and sadly, some people are even more at risk because of their race and ethnicity.

    But the important thing to remember is that so many cardiovascular disease-related deaths can be PREVENTED through better eating and health habits, better living spaces, and proper care and control of chronic illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure.

    Prevented, friends.

    It’s the year of Committing to Lean in 2014 with Good Measure Meals, and part of getting lean means getting healthy and preventing unnecessary death from cardiovascular disease (because if we’re being honest, nobody’s trying to die early from poor heart upkeep).

    Obviously, at Good Measure Meals, we’re here to help with getting your diet on track. And we do that pretty darn well, actually.

    But another major part of caring for your heart is exercise, and there’s just no way around that. The recommendation is to get your heart-rate up (to a point that it’s difficult to carry on a conversation) 30 minutes per day every day. Are you doing that? I don’t every day, and that’s on me. That’s my bad.

    But you know what? We can help with that, too.
    harmony and philip race numbersplushashtag

    EVERY MONTH, we participate in one 5K race around Atlanta that benefits a local non-profit. For all you newbies, a 5K is 3.1 miles. If you jog at a good 10-minute clip, you’ll have your 30-minutes of exercise for the day, easy peas-y. But walking during 5K’s is also perfectly acceptable.

    Guess what? We have a 5K coming up this weekend, too, and (if you’re a woman) you should really consider joining our “Race for Good” team. This race happens to be a woman’s-only race, because it is in celebration of this awesome organization, Back on My Feet Atlanta’s new women’s running program.

    Back on My Feet Atlanta helps homeless individuals in our city regain self-worth, self-esteem, and good health with the simple act of regularly meeting up to go for group runs. It’s a part-mentoring, part-health-promoting, part-group-bonding experience that really helps put the feet back under people who maybe haven’t had a purpose for their lives in recent memory.

    Anyway, it’s a great cause – not to mention, it is health-promoting for you, also.

    By the way, Good Measure Meals is also partnered with tons of gyms around Atlanta. Each of these gyms have great classes every day for those of you who may not be the running types. And all experience levels have a place in these classes.

    You may remember that time that a group of GMM folks did a bootcamp with some Atlanta firefighters.DSC01318

    Or that time that I did the boot camp with The SweatBox Decatur. That was new for me, and it was an awesome experience, and some really great exercise accountability.

    It’s American Heart Health Month, friends, so I just want to remind you that simply eating better is not going to transform your health.

    If you really want to Commit to Lean in 2014, you’ve got to get real and start caring for your heart. The upside (other than preventing cardiovascular disease, obviously) is that caring for your heart will also help with your weight-loss goals….and most likely your sanity, too.

    Oh, and come join us on Saturday at the Back on My Feet Mizuno Women’s 5K. It’s a great place to start and amazing cause to support.

  • 11Feb

    Today’s post is contributed by Joy Goetz

    Chocolate Heart

    What comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day?  Hearts, chocolate, flowers and candlelight, just for starters. Most commonly, this day is used to celebrate romantic love, but who says that we can’t take this time to celebrate all the love in our lives? As I reflect on my life, I feel so grateful to have a wonderful community of friends, family, neighbors and of course, my dog, Gracie. This year, I am redefining the holiday to include all people in my life that I cherish. Of course, as a dietitian and foodie, I want give people the best, so I did a little research about chocolate. Did you know that:

    • The cacao bean contains potent antioxidants called flavanols that help protect cells from damage. 1
    • Eating small amounts of dark chocolate (as part of a healthy diet) can help reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. 1
    • There is actually research supporting cacao’s stress relieving properties. 2

    The trick is to pick the right chocolate and eat it in moderation. Since all of the health benefits can be attributed to the cacao bean, when choosing chocolate, the darker the better, generally, 70% cacao or more.  Also, you can add cocoa powder, which is just ground cacao beans without added sugar or fat, to lots of recipes, from pancakes to chili. Hershey’s website has tons of recipes that I can’t wait to try. Look for cocoa powder and chocolate that does not say, “processed with alkali” or “Dutch chocolate,” as this processing reduces the flavonal content.

    Another way to get a great bang for your buck is to pair dark chocolate with fruit. Everyone knows fruit is good for you, and it naturally has fewer calories than chocolate, so it helps the chocolate go farther. Most of the research on chocolate used about 20-40 grams of dark chocolate (about the size of 4-9 Hershey kisses) or 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. That’s not very much, it looks like a lot more if you drizzle it on fresh strawberries or bananas. Plus, it’s more special and delicious!

    I hope you enjoy some chocolate this week, in moderation of course. And no matter who you celebrate with, may your Valentine’s Day be filled with love, happiness and gratitude.

  • 04Feb

    Snowpocalypse1

    By Thursday January 30th, Atlanta’s snowpocalypse was beginning to thaw; but over at Open Hand, I found myself with the Good Measure Meals team suiting up to brave an entirely different world of cold: the cold of our very own freezers.

    That’s right. That day, all Open Hand and Good Measure Meals staff was asked to report to the office, if possible, to work in the kitchen, packaging and delivering Open Hand meals to those who would otherwise not have any food to eat that day. It was an incredibly important task, and it was really cool to see everyone from the organization’s many different departments show up and roll up their sleeves to get the job done. There were also many, many volunteers who came to help get the meals out that day - such a cool experience!

    At first, I had the pretty awesome job of working with Ashley and Tiana to bag rolls. Ashley put the roll in a bag and handed it to me. I got to twist the bag and run it through this machine that with a crisp “snap!” taped off the bag.

    Honestly, I love manual labor. There is nothing like watching a mountain of a thousand rolls disappear into organized bins of bagged rolls neatly taped into their plastic bags – knowing that those rolls are going to be delivered to people who need them.

    Then came the “challenge.” Susan, Rachel, Callie and I were all tasked with freezer work; which, I have to say, was colder than anything I have ever experienced. Strange as it sounds, however, it was actually really fun. Inside the freezer, we worked as fast as we could to remove metal catering dishes from delivery bags so that the bags could be used to deliver more meals. We learned quickly that we needed gloves for this job!  Thankfully, since our city was covered in snow, we had gloves on hand.

    At the end of day, it was great to really work alongside our team members. Even in the freezer!

    Don’t believe me?  See for yourself.  Excuse my shivering hands.  It was freezing in there…literally.